Comcast’s Triple Play Scam

A couple of weeks ago I called Comcast's support folks to get my username and password (so we could log in to watch the olympics online). I had never needed the username previously, and when Comcast absorbed Alameda's municipal cable service they never gave us any of that information. It was simple to get though.

At the end of the call the support person mentioned that she could reduce our bill if we signed up for the triple play phone service. I have always refused this in the past since I don't need another phone service, and there is no way I am letting them be my primary phone service given how often they have outages and issues. But this time the rep informed me that I could have the service and simply not use it. Then cancel at the end of the one year promo period. So, foolishly in retrospect, I agreed and she set it up.

Then last week I get a call while in a meeting from a number I did recognize. Turns out it was Comcast; they needed me to confirm something for the order. We also got out bill last week & there were all sorts of changes on it. Things added and removed, as well as pro-rated items.

This morning I called to ask about the bill, and also deal with whatever it was they needed confirmed. The new charges it seems relate to the phone service bundle, and the price he gave me as my new monthly was about $30 more than I remember from the first call, but still less than I had been paying. Then he said that the verification was an third party robo service that he would transfer me to.

That started off saying it was an E911 verification service (for those not in the US, this is nonsense that all VoIP providers need to deal with). No big deal, though in the past I have always been able to do this via a simple web form. But the first three questions they asked were:

1. State your name

2. Are you authorized to make changes on your Comcast account?

3. Are you authorized to transfer the phone service on 510-xxx-xxxx (my home number)?

How does transferring my home number to Comcast come under the description of 'not using' the phone service? Nobody from Comcast had mentioned that they would be grabbing my AT&T land line number. And how is this part of E911 verification?

Calling back to Comcast, I asked for a supervisor. The agent this time simply put me on hold and left me there to hang up. I don't give up that easily.

Twitter Based Support

I pinged Comcast's Twitter support team @comcastcares and asked for the contact information of the VP in charge of customer care so I could report both the somewhat devious attempt to grab my home phone service (which they will never get now, even if they paid me to keep it), as well as the outrageous behavior of the last agent I spoke to simply putting me on hold instead of transferring me to his supervisor (I would like that agent to be retrained, but I suspect he was already following the training).

I did not get an email address for a VP, but I did get one for the head of that team, and I sent him the details of what had happened.

A little research online led to info about their SVP of customer operations, one Rick Germano, and his email address. I asked the Twitter team if that was a real address, and they confirmed it was. But when I forwarded my earlier email to it, I got an immediate bounce. So I guess Rick doesn't want to hear from any more disgruntled customers via email.

Remote host said: 550 Mailbox unavailable or access denied – [RCPT_TO]<>

Instead, I guess he can read about it all on my blog instead.

Right now I am waiting for a response from the Comcast Cares team. It amazes me that almost every time I contact the local support I end up needing to contact the team on Twitter to fix the mess left by the local support. I will follow up with how it all works out.

And Rick, if you want to contact me Bill has my email address & account info.


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